Former Group captain of the Zimbabwean Air Force, Ellen Chiweshe, has been promoted to the rank of Air Commodore, the very first female of such rank in the African nation. The rank makes her the No 3 person in the country’s air force.
Zimbabwean Air Force Commander Perrance Shiriwas photographed fitting a hat on her head as part of a promotion ceremony. “Chiweshe is one of the first female officers to work in the finance department of the air force and was promoted not because of bias or favor but because of her competency”, Shiri said. “The sky is the limit. There is nothing that can stop women from attaining high posts.”
The Zimbabwe Defence Force has a female Brigadier-General namely Shylet Moyo who was promoted in 2013. In addition, on December 18, 2015, Zimbabwe National Army saw 22 senior army officials being promoted to the ranks of Brigadier-General and Colonels. Lindiwe Ngwenya was elevated to the Brigadier-General rank while other three female officers became colonels. Within the Zimbabwe Republic Police there is Deputy Commissioner General Josephine Shambare.
Zimbabwe’s constitution, adopted in 2013, requires gender parity in all state institutions, although men remain dominant in top government and military jobs. This development comes at a time when over 186 countries worldwide have ratified the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
According to the UN, women promoting gender equality should be the core business of the international community. The Southern Africa Development Council (SADC) Gender Protocol 2013 stated, in Zimbabwe, women representation in top decision making in the security sector remains below 30%. Zimbabwe is among the only country in the SADC region to have achieved a representation of 20% women and above. The other three are South Africa (27 %), Seychelles (20 %) and Namibia (26 %).